Moral reasoning is the process we engage in when we try to figure out what is right or wrong to do and why. Moral reasoning is puzzling. On the one hand, moral disagreement and the diversity of moral thinking suggest to some that moral reasoning is impossible or pointless. On the other hand, almost everyone engages in such reasoning, if only to find fault with those they disagree with. How should we reason morally in a world with varying moral outlooks, diversity of moral views, and substantial moral disagreement? Moral reasoning is often associated with the search for a single overarching value or principle — to be “principled” is to endorse a single value such as overall well-being, or liberty, and to follow a single principle based on it, as in cost-benefit analysis or libertarianism. I argue that this approach is misguided. The proper form of moral reasoning involves finding principled compromises, prioritizing among distinct and conflicting values — such as fairness, honesty, respect for autonomy — and being consistent from one case to another. It follows from this that moral disagreement and diversity do not undermine the possibility of reasoning.
Dr. Patricia Marino is an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo. She is the current co-President of the Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love, and a former Humanities Fellow at Stanford University. Her research focuses on topics in ethics, philosophy of sex, and philosophy of economics.
Location: Sidney Smith Hall Room SS 1084, University of Toronto
100 St. George Street
Time: Friday August 9th
Free for Friends of the Centre
- See more at: http://centreforinquiry.ca/event/moral-reasoning-in-a-pluralistic-world/#sthash.jf9IKXoI.dpuf